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Zimbabwean Multidisciplinary Artist Making Name for Himself in USA. 

Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini based in USA
Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini based in USA

A 33 year-old Zimbabwean living in USA is making a name for himself in the visual arts industry. Solomon Mahlatini, who was born in Kwekwe, Midlands province, has racked in several awards in this lucrative business.

Mahlatini started showing interest in drawing and painting at Goldridge College in Kwekwe, where he sold his first commercial work at the age of 12. He graduated from East Central University in Oklahama in 2019 where he received the prestigeous O. Gail Poole Travel Award, the university director’s award and Curator’s Choice Award for his artistic works. He also featured in a book, Artster Oklahoma, which is now part of the Oklahama Hall of Fame. He has exhibited his works in New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Oklahoma and Washington DC. Mahlatini says he draws his inspiration from his childhood and enthusiasm to tell his life story in paintings.

“I am a visual artist specializing in painting for the most part and my recent exhibition was titled “Restrospection”, which references a lot of my childhood growing up in Zimbabwe and using that as an inspiration in my day to day living.”

Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini
Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini

Mahlatini says art gives him an opportunity to express himself in many ways.

“I think art is a great way of expressing how we feel, and it captures time. It’s a great way to memorialize moments in time. I feel particularly that the time is ripe for Africans to thrive and shine, to have a voice and platform to show our creativity and our voices."

Most of Mahlatini’s work has been showcased within the USA, with the ‘Retrospection Exhibition’ stealing the limelight at the Africa Art Gallery here in Washington DC. More exhibitions and tours are in the pipeline.

Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini's work
Zimbabwean artist Solomon Mahlatini's work

“I have shown extensively here in the Washington DC area, Dallas, Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York and a lot of other minor cities.”

Mahlatini’s manager Peter Jones says he was mesmerized by his work, and it has been an honor to be part of his life.

“I had the opportunity to meet Solomon 8-9 years ago when he first came to Washington DC and I was impressed with his work, when he asked me to be his manager. I was more than happy to do it. There is a story behind a story with art and this is what we are trying to show and tell.”

Mahlatini says he is at his best in telling the African story.

“I love to tell my stories focusing on Identity, particularly telling the narrative of Africans in the diaspora, and showing the Zimbabwe culture, where I grew up.”

Zimbabwe is not a stranger to the world of art in the USA as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hosts a permanent exhibition that features a collection of 20 contemporary stone sculptures from 12 of Zimbabwe’s top artistes titled ‘Zimbabwe: A Tradition in Stone’. Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United States had a glimpse of this exhibition earlier in year.